Tasted: Phensiri
Tasted: Phensiri

Hankering for a scrumptious feast made from the freshest sustainably sourced ingredients on Koh Samui? Head to Phensiri, an island legend that specialises in Southern Thai food.

Under the leadership of sustainability-focused chef and owner Santi “Aor” Wongsawat, Phensiri is committed to promoting zero waste thorugh its nose-to-tail culinary excellence.

“Zero-waste cooking has been ingrained in Thai culinary heritage for generations. While some may have discarded this knowledge, many stil practise it but without even knowing. This practice can be easily incorporated at home, and it’s something we should all pay attention to in order to minimise waste,” Chef Aor explains. “Thai cuisine uses many ingredients, resulting in dishes rice in different flavours and textures. Also, each dish often utilises diverse parts of a single ingredient. This means that one ingredient can be repurposed across several dishes within a single meal, which helps reduce waste effecitvely.”

One prime example is lemongrass. The unused parts of this herb can add an extra zing to curry paste. Another example is how the banana tree is used in Thai cuisine. Everything from blossoms and leaves to fruit and stems can be transformed into delicious dishes.

Any kitchen scraps at Phensiri go to local farms for animal feed while table scraps are returned to the fields as organic fertiliser. The menu of well-known Southern classics and prized local delights is crafted using only seasonal and hyper-local ingredients, along with locally made seasonings like Kapi (shrimp paste) and fish sauce. The seafood is sourced exclusively from small-scale fisheries on the island.

We have a few wonderful classics to recommend from out visit to the restaurant. Bai Liang Phad Khai (melinjo leaves stir-fried with egg) is a Southern classic cooked in the traditional method with rich coconut milk and shrimp paste but not a drop of oil. For us, this gave the dish a new, unfamiliar but delectable twist.

Also not to be missed are Pla Muek Phad Kati (stir-fried squid in coconut milk) and Gaeng Som Pla (Southern sour and spicy fish soup). These two dishes embody the flavours of Samui, infusing the local culinary wisdom in every bite.


Phensiri Restaurant

80/30 Moo 3, Suanuthit Road, Chaweng Beach, Bo Phut, Koh Samui, Surat Thani Tel: +66 (0) 81 753 6767

Tasted: Phensiri
Gaeng Som Pla – the much-adored vibrant, sour, and<br />
spicy curry soup
Stir-fried melinjo leaves with egg (Bai Liang Phad Khai) is a Southern specialty
Goong Dok Hed, a savoury crunchy mouthful that elevates the meal
Mango Sticky Rice (Khao Niew Mamuang)
Artistic plating by Chef Santi “Aor” Wongsawat